Its been about a month since the Ocotillo Apartments were condemned. The week after the property was closed, encampments popped up on the street around the apartments. On Tuesday, it appeared the encampments were cleared out.
Still, the situation left many people without a home. In an effort to find where people went, KGUN 9 looked at a hotspot for encampments. Several people at Santa Rita Park, the majority not wanting to go on camera, confirmed they were residents at the Ocotillo Apartments.
A lot of us just went where we needed to go. It was here to the park or to the streets, said Cecilia Michael.
Michael lived at the ocotillo apartments until the property was condemned on September 29 for not having electricity or fire protection.
Before that, apartment management tried to evict people that were victims to a fraudulent sober living program that stopped making payments for those clients.
The city connected the people evicted to resources, but there weren’t enough beds or housing for everyone.
Majority of them were already full, theres a waiting list, said Michael.
So some of the people went to Santa Rita park. It’s a hotspot for encampments, but not the safest.
I’d like to take my grandkids to the park so they could play in the jungle gym, but I haven’t been able to because its just too dangerous. Sometimes there are people camped out in the jungle gym, weve found needles. Its just not safe for children.
Cecilia Michael said she knows how neighbors feel. Neighbors are like, they dont like it. But where else do we go? We sleep in an alley behind Autozone.
Maureen Mahoney has owned her home since 1988. She said she’s seen a major change in the past few years.
We’ve had several people jump the wall and break the wall, my daughters come home to someone on the swing.
Other neighbors, who didn’t want to be on camera, shared a similar experience.